Monday, June 13, 2005 say the least

Yesterday, after setting up, cooking supper and generally looking forward to the rest of the weekend, Mother Nature stuck her nose into the mix, again.In the form of a severe thunderstorm.

The clouds built for hours, looking black but skirting us to the south- away behind the Grandstands. Then it came. High winds, steady rain. We pulled down the awning (the pair of newlyweds down the way already had theirs blow over the top of the RV, bending parts and shattering a roof vent.) We generally secured the site. Then sat down.

Rich asked, “Do you think I should take down the flags?”Lightning flashed and thunder boomed. We agreed that now would not be a good time to do that. Water came down in sideways sheets (again), wind howled and the skies flickered. We lost sight of the grandstands. If you take a look at the attached photo, that’s pretty significant. We sat on our dinette listening to the torrents. Then a flash of light, a bang that reverberated in our skulls and a strange tingling sensation remained on my tongue.We looked at each other. Did we? Nah…we didn’t. Did we?

When the skies let up we poked our heads out of the trailer and about 5 neighbors were running over to us. Yes, apparently we did get hit.Our flag pole served nicely as the point of entry. Our trailer, I believe, served as an insulated cage for us, but the refrigerator propane ignition system and the AC/DC converter died. We found the ground of the bolt at the base of the DirecTV dish. The truck has an assortment of idiot lights on as well. I guess we’ll find out how crucial they are on Monday, on our way home. The neighbor’s air conditioning fried, as well.

Meanwhile, we are grateful, once again, for our little generator. It is keeping our food at least reasonably cold. We probably won’t be keeping up with racing stuff on the TV, though. *sigh* And we’ll be going to bed early, unless I manage a cheerful campfire for entertainment. Yep, I think we are really camping.

Pocono also has this silly idea that once you are in the infield, you stay for the weekend. They have a saying, “The only way out is in the back of an ambulance or a police cruiser.” It’s OK. We have enough gas to keep the generator running for a good deal of the time and I have books with me.

This morning, Mother Nature continued to tease us with fog. Again, the grandstands were nowhere to be seen. We doubted that practice would arrive. Jet dryers were deployed even as sprinkles continued to rain down. But the racing gods were here to cooperate today.

Seeing a race at Pocono:The grandstand is humungous! It runs almost the entire length of the straightaway. You will definitely need binoculars to see anything anywhere else on the track. You need binoculars just to see the other end of the front stretch!Watching the race from the infield: While it’s a neat idea, you won’t see much unless you have a platform on top of your RV. And even then, you’ll be following little ants in a circle for the majority of the day. However, for somebody who has never actually watched a race from the infield, it’s entertaining and unique. And you’ll be paying as much for infield access (or more) than if you bought the family grandstand tickets.

Pit/Paddock Access:OK. I have done this at Watkins Glen and Atlanta. It’s cool. Pay $30 and you’re allowed behind pit wall on pit lane while the cars practice. This is awesome! And Pocono has the Paddock Areas. These are wonderfully conceived in a manner that encourages fan access. The fenced Paddock areas are facing the Cup garages. You get to watch your favorite driver’s team get their car ready. Then there is the Paddock Alley. A perfect vantage from which to watch the cars come and go during practice and qualifying. Though I prefer pit road for qualifying.

Today, after returning from first Cup practice, an ARCA car smashed into the wall at the exit to Turn 3. Repairs had to be made to the wall. I found it amusing that we used to get out torches and lengths of guardrail when repairing the wall was needed. Today we toss large bits of pink Styrofoam around and off we go. Progress.

We’ll be watching the ARCA race tomorrow from our campsite. It’s plenty loud. Later!

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